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Aggies Nominated For Marshall, Rhodes Scholarships

The Texas A&M University Honors Programs office announces that five outstanding undergraduates have been nominated by the university for application to the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships.
By Kyle Mox, Texas A&M University Honors Program October 20, 2008

The Texas A&M University Honors Programs office announces that five outstanding undergraduates have been nominated by the university for application to the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships, the two most prestigious and highly-coveted academic scholarships available to United States students.

The nominees are Matthew Hickey, Erika Schmidt, Carrie Tallichet, Laura White and Jacob McDonald.

Rhodes Scholarships are tenable for two to three years of post-baccalaureate study at Oxford University; the Marshall Scholarship is tenable for two years of study at any university in the United Kingdom.

To be eligible to apply, students must be graduating seniors or recent graduates and be nominated by the university. Hundreds of students from across the United States apply each year; of the approximately 1,000 students who applied in 2007, only 32 applicants are selected for the Rhodes, whereas only 40 of the approximately 1,100 who applied for the Marshall were selected as scholars.

The nominees will hear of their selection as finalists in late October or early November. Finalists will then participate in regional or district interviews in Houston. The announcement of scholars will be announced by the foundations shortly thereafter.

Matthew Hickey of The Woodlands has been nominated for both the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships. He will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, with a minor in Anthropology. He has conducted research on human Toll-like receptor 3, which has applications in immunology. An avid backpacker and runner, Hickey also has a strong interest in international affairs, and he is the co-founder of International Student Cultural Exchange, a program that seeks to match up international Aggies with native Aggies for home visits during major US holidays. He has also travelled extensively, including several weeks working at an orphanage in Nigeria. In his spare time, he operates his own videography company. If selected as a Marshall or Rhodes Scholar, he will study medical anthropology at either Brunel or Oxford University before returning to the US for medical school.

A nominee for the Marshall Scholarship, Jacob McDonald of Denton is currently completing his Master’s in Electrical Engineering, after having completed a Bachelor’s degree in three years. McDonald has been president of both Eta Kappa Nu and Tau Beta Pi honor societies and has played for the Texas A&M club soccer team. The author of several conference papers on radio antennas for biomedical applications, he has also completed internships at both Sandia National Labs and Raytheon. If chosen as a Marshall Scholar, he will study for a Master of Philosophy degree in Technology and Innovation Management at the University of Sussex.

Erika Schmidt, a nominee for both the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships will graduate in August 2009 with a BBA in management, with a Certificate in International Business. A nativeof Glen Rose, Schmidt is a vocal advocate for human rights, having founded the Texas A&M chapter of Amnesty International and conducted independent research in gender equity in evaluative settings. She is currently in Scotland as a visiting student at Edinburgh University, where she participates in the Swing Dance Society and plays flute in the university’s wind band. If selected as a Marshall Scholar, she will study for masters’ degrees in Global Movements, Social Justice, and Sustainability and Human Rights and International Politics. If selected as a Rhodes Scholar, she will study for a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University.

Carrie Tallichet has been nominated for both the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships. Hailing from Houston, Tallichet will graduate in December as a double-major in English and History, with minors in Classical Studies and French. An avid traveler, she is currently studying abroad in Toulouse, France, and participated in a cultural exchange program in Uzbekistan and Slovakia. A University Undergraduate Research Fellow, her thesis, “Solidarities of Survival: Huguenots of the Revocation Era, 1681-1715,” has led to her desire to study Modern European History at Oxford University and Reformation Studies at University of Saint Andrews.

Laura White is the first student from Texas A&M-Galveston to be nominated for either the Rhodes or Marshall Scholarship. Originally from Stephenville, White will graduate in December with degree is both marine sciences and maritime studies, with minors in chemistry and anthropology. With a long-term aspiration to become a nautical archaeologist, White is also an accomplished SCUBA diver, having recently progressed to the rank of divemaster. An accomplished undergraduate researcher, she has completed projects on artifact preservation, GIS applications, and lead-210 dating. Her most recent project, however, was an excavation of a Viking longship in Shetland. If selected as a Marshall or Rhodes Scholar, she will study archaeological science at Bradford or Oxford University.

The Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest international fellowships, were initiated after the death of Cecil Rhodes in 1902, and bring outstanding students from many countries around the world to the University of Oxford. The primary qualification for a successful candidate is intellectual distinction, although the selection committees also seek excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person which, in combination, offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead. Through the years, Rhodes Scholars have pursued studies in all of the varied fields available at the University of Oxford, where they are elected for two years of study, with the possibility of renewal for a third year. Notable Rhodes Scholars include former US President Bill Clinton, NBA Hall-of-Fame inductee and Senator Bill Bradley, and Country Music Hall of Fame Inductee Kris Kristofferson.

The Marshall Scholarships began in 1953 as a gesture of thanks from the British Government for the US assistance in rebuilding Europe after World War II. Former Marshall Scholars include Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and New York Times Foreign Affairs columnist Thomas Friedman. According to the Marshall Scholarship Foundation, as future leaders, Marshall Scholars are “expected to strengthen the enduring relationship between the British and American peoples, their governments and their institutions. Marshall Scholars are talented, independent and wide-ranging, and their time as Scholars enhances their intellectual and personal growth. Their direct engagement with Britain through its best academic programmes contributes to their ultimate personal success.”

Because of the fierce competition for these scholarships, the preliminary process to be selected as an official university nominee is quite rigorous. Currently enrolled students and recent graduates should apply for selection in April, with the official deadline for the scholarships being in early October. To be awarded the University’s nomination, a student must show strong scholarly potential, demonstrated through their academic record and letters of recommendation from faculty, leadership ability, demonstrated through their involvement in student and civic organizations, and excellent speaking and analytical skills, as demonstrated in a series of interviews.

Once approved, prospective nominees can expect to spend months developing their applications as they work closely under the advice and guidance of faculty and academic advisors. The official announcement of university endorsement is made only after the nominees submit their finalized application to the scholarship foundations.

Texas A&M University has produced seven Rhodes Scholars, the most recent being Nick Anthis in 2005. In last year’s competition, math major Andrew Matteson ’08 was invited to interview.

Four Aggies have become Marshall Scholars, most recently in 2006, when Environmental Design major Faye Hays was selected. In 2004, two Aggies, Joshua Siepel and Maya Weilundemo were selected as Marshall Scholars.

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